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About the book
  • Published: 26 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143505907
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $27.00

Jim's Letters


Formats & editions


This award-winning picture book tells the moving story of two brothers separated by the First World War. It is based on the thousands of letters sent by and to Anzac soldiers fighting at Gallipoli.

This award-winning picture book tells the moving story of two brothers separated by the First World War. It is based on the thousands of letters sent by and to Anzac soldiers fighting at Gallipoli.

Dear Jim,
Your postcard arrived today. I showed it to the family. Mum misses you . . .
Between December 1914 and August 1915 Tom and Jim write to each other whenever they get a chance. Tom talks about life at home on the farm while Jim writes from Egypt and then from the trenches of the Gallipoli peninsula.

From the author and illustrator of Le Quesnoy and Roly, the Anzac Donkey comes a moving story of two brothers separated by war. It is based on the thousands of letters sent by and to Anzac soldiers fighting at Gallipoli, one of the most significant campaigns of the First World War.

This beautiful hardback depicts life at war and on the home front with exquisite illustrations by Jenny Cooper and fold-out letter inserts.

Best Picture Book, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015
Storylines Notable Picture Book 2015

  • Pub date: 26 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143505907
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $27.00

About the Authors

Glyn Harper

Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is Massey's Project Manager of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War. A former teacher, he joined the Australian Army in 1988 and after eight years transferred to the New Zealand Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Glyn was the army's official historian for the deployment to East Timor and is the author of numerous history books, including Kippenberger: An Inspired New Zealand Commander; In the Face of the Enemy: The complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand; Dark Journey: Three Key Battles of the Western Front; Images of War: World War One: A Photographic Record of New Zealanders at War 1914–1918 and his most recent Letters from Gallipoli: New Zealand Soldiers Write Home. He has written a number of children's books, of which Le Quesnoy, Jim's Letters and Roly, the Anzac Donkey are the most recently published. In 2015 Glyn and illustrator Jenny Cooper won the Best Picture Book Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, as well as a Storylines Notable Picture Book Award, for Jim's Letters, a moving story about a correspondence between two brothers during the First World War.
Speaking about writing stories for children in an interview with the Manawatu Standard in 2018, Glyn said, ‘‘I think history is immensely important. Having a sense of the past and what has created the nation as it is today is very important for young people. If
stories can do that, I think they are serving
a good purpose.’’

Jenny Cooper

Jenny Cooper is an award-winning and prolific illustrator of more than 70 children’s books, and says she finds each new title “completely different and a new adventure”. Noted for being an exceptionally versatile, characterful and exuberant illustrator, the judges of the 2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards praised Jenny for the “multitude of talents in her basket of goodies . . . she is able to draw a variety of animals convincingly well; her command of emotional drawing is also superb. The depth of feeling in the faces of her characters brings tears to the reader’s eyes. She is surely envied by other illustrators.” Jenny’s recent work includes a series of critically acclaimed First World War picture books with text by Glyn Harper – Roly, the Anzac Donkey, Jim’s Letters and Le Quesnoy: The Story of the Town New Zealand Saved – and the beautiful A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children edited by Paula Green. In 2015 Jenny was honoured as one of New Zealand’s foremost illustrators with the presentation of The Arts Foundation Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award. The award’s patron Ann Mallinson declared her the “perfect recipient”, saying that “Whether a pencil sketch or a realistic, photographic based style, Jenny’s illustrations jump out of the page with an invigorating spirit . . . Jenny is a greatly admired and very experienced artist who has illustrated a large number of picture books. Her work is always of the highest standard. She can tackle any subject, and if it requires more than her wonderful imagination, she will do thorough research.” In August 2015 Jim’s Letters, Jenny's and author Glyn Harper’s memorable depiction of a World War One correspondence between two brothers, one a soldier in Gallipoli and the other at home on their Central Otago farm, won the Picture Book category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Jenny has also won a number of Storylines Notable Book Awards — for A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children edited by Paula Green (2015); Jim’s Letters with Glyn Harper (2015); Ria the Reckless Wrybill with Jane Buxton (2011); A. W. Reed’s classic Illustrated Myths and Legends of the Pacific (2008); The Mad Tadpole Adventure with Melanie Drewery (2008); Duck Walk with Joy Cowley (2003); The Great Pavlova Cover-up edited by Jo Noble (2002); and The Wooden Fish with Tim Tipene (2000). Jenny lives in Amberley, near Christchurch.


Praise for Jim's Letters

“Skilfully written, striking in its format and deeply moving in its conclusion, Jim's Letters may be Harper's best book yet. [...] This is an endlessly fascinating picture book, which provides a magnificent introduction to New Zealand's early involvement in the Great War.”

Trevor Agnew, Magpies

“This [story] gets me every time. ... The illustrations are wonderful and emotional and contrast war and home life beautifully.”

Laura Hewson, Otago Daily Times


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